Industrialized Nebraskans for Organized Recycling Management
September 1999

Tipping Fee Lower Than Projected

This is the final piece of a three-part series addressing Lincoln’s Landfill concerns. The projected tipping fee increase of $4/ton, has been reduced to $1/ton from the time of our last publication.

This article is borrowed liberally from the Lincoln Journal Star Operating Budget Supplement, August, 1999. The largest man-made structure in Lancaster County is not our stately Capitol building. It’s not even Memorial Stadium. It’s Lincoln’s landfill. In 25 years, 19 million cubic yards of solid waste will cover 170 acres at a minimum height of 130 feet. Each and every one of us is contributing to its creation.

The figures are mind boggling:

More than 720 tons of waste are deposited at Lincoln’s Buff Road Landfill every day. That’s equal to the weight of 330 mini-vans or a herd of 1,200 full-grown bison.

Based on the total amount of tons received at the Bluff Road Landfill, an average of 6.2 lbs of waste is disposed of per person each day.

It takes six to eight acres of land every year to dispose of all the trash generated from homes, businesses and industries.

Fortunately, because of careful planning, the Bluff Road Landfill is projected to meet the needs of Lincoln and Lancaster until the year 2022.

The costs of operating any facility of this size are large. The good news is: the city is being fiscally responsible in keeping Lincoln’s landfill fees relatively low when compared to other cities and states in the Midwest. Even with a proposed fee increase,

Lincoln will still rank low when compared with cities in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan.

An increase in the gate fee is needed to help fund more than $4 million in major capital improvements in the upcoming year at the Bluff Road Landfill. It was anticipated that gate fees would need to be increased $4 per ton, but because of favorable bids on the project, the proposed increase in gate fees is just $1 per ton at the Bluff Road Landfill and the yard waste composting site. The increase, from $16 to $17/ton at the landfill, is the first landfill fee hike the city has imposed in three years. The state average is $24 per ton. If approved, the increase in landfill fees will take effect September 1, 1999.

In addition to supporting the operational costs of waste disposal in Lincoln, the fees also fund a variety of additional programs and activities for our community. The City’s Yard Waste Composting Program is supported by the fees collected at the Bluff Road Yard Waste Composting Facility. The City Recycling Office, along with the drop-off sites and educational programs it provides, are also funded through landfill fees.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department also benefits from the fees collected from solid waste operations. A significant portion of funding for the Special Waste, Household Hazardous Waste and Pollution Prevention Programs is provided by gate fees at our landfill sites. The money also funds the clean-up of illegal dumpsites in the county. These programs provide a valuable service to Lincoln residents and promote the health of our community and the environment.

SOURCE: Lincoln Journal Star Operating Budget Supplement, August, 1999.

INFORM Promotes P2 Week

This month’s INFORM meeting will be at the Lancaster County Cooperative Extension Office, 444 Cherrycreek Rd., as part of the Pollution Prevention (P2) Week activities. National P2 Week began in 1992 in California to acknowledge businesses that had reduced wastes and protected the environment. In 1995 the event became national. Community-wide events celebrate business successes, promote waste reduction practices, and encourage everyone to become more informed about environmental issues and how to protect the environment.

On Tuesday, September 21, buses will provide transportation to tour Lincoln area businesses in order to learn more about their waste reduction and recycling efforts. These tours, leaving from the Lancaster County Extension Office at 444 Cherrycreek Road, may give businesses ideas for their operations. Scheduled visits include:

Square D 8:00 am - 9:00 am

Molex 9:30 am- 10:30 am

Duncan Aviation 11:00 am to 12 PM

For more information about the tours, contact Robin DaHarsh (436-4275),

Carrie Hakenkamp (472-0888) or John Hetcko (421-4505).

On Thursday, September 23, from 10:00 am to 12:00 PM, there will be a combined meeting of INFORM and Nebraska Industrial Council on the Environment (NICE) at the Lancaster County Extension office. Local businesses will share their waste reduction success stories at this meeting. A complimentary luncheon will follow, with Mike Krumland of Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) speaking about NPPD P2 activities. Please register with Carrie Hakenkamp at 472-0888 to ensure your seat at the luncheon.

Home Depot to Phase Out Old Growth Products

ATLANTA, Georgia, August 26, 1999 - The Home Depot, the world's largest home improvement retailer, used its 20th anniversary celebration to announce a policy change on wood sourcing. President and CEO Arthur Blank told Home Depot associates today the company will phase out the sale of wood products from old growth forests over the next three years.

"Our pledge to our customers, associates and stockholders is that Home Depot will stop selling wood products from environmentally sensitive areas," Blank said. "Home Depot embraces its responsibility as a global leader to help protect endangered forests. By the end of 2002, we will eliminate from our stores wood from endangered areas - including certain lauan, redwood and cedar products - and give preference to 'certified' wood."

To carry the "certified" label, a supplier's wood must be tracked from the forest, through manufacturing and distribution, to the customer and must ensure a balance of social, economic and environmental factors.

"This is indeed a bold step in advancing the cause of independent certification and responsible wood use throughout the industry," said David Ford, president of the Certified Forest Products Council, whose organization helps connect buyers and sellers of products coming from certified well-managed forests. "We're pleased that Home Depot is taking decisive action to protect endangered forested ecosystems around the world."

"Our company sells less than 10 percent of the lumber in the world, but is still the largest single retailer of lumber in the world," Blank said. "Today, the world supply of certified wood is extremely limited.

"Home Depot will use the power of its purchasing dollars to vote for products that do the most to

preserve environmentally sensitive areas," he said. "We are asking our vendors to help us by dramatically increasing the supply of certified forest products." Blank said Home Depot is encouraging other home improvement retailers to follow its lead.

Greenpeace today welcomed Home Depot's announcement. The environmental group hailed the decision as a necessary step in preserving the world's few remaining ancient forests.

"Greenpeace looks forward to working with Home Depot on the implementation and enforcement of this policy," said Matt Jacobson, Greenpeace forest campaigner. "It is an exciting turn of events to have the world's largest do-it-yourself retailer emerge as an ally in our fight to save all the world's ancient forests, as well as many other sensitive forest ecosystems. Our forest experts are available to assist the company in achieving its laudable goals."

Founded in 1978, Home Depot ranks among the 10 largest retailers in the United States, with fiscal 1998 sales of $30.2 billion. It operates 856 stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Chile. The company employs approximately 157,000 associates.

This information was taken directly from the e-wire website at:

OCC Market Report

Board mills are no longer buying their OCC in a panic mode. Most report to us that they are now very comfortable with their inventory levels. We’ve reflected drops in just about every region except Chicago. We heard from enough sources last month to conclude we missed the boat on the way up. So we’re now reflecting an additional $15/ton increase in this region.

Factors behind this cooling down are export interest diminishing, mills straightening out their inventory problems, supply starting to slowly build up, and speculators disappearing from the scene.

Our sources tell us business is good; mills are running flat out. But the OCC supply picture could change significantly in the weeks ahead. One reliable Southeast source tells us a major store chain is planning to buy extra merchandise in anticipation of Y2K problems at year-end. That could translate into lots of extra OCC being generated between now and December.

(taken from Official Board Markets-Yellow Sheet, August 14, 1999)

People Recognize Autos as Most Recycled Product

PITTSBURGH,PA-The automobile remains at the top of the list of recycled consumer products with the average recycling rate being close to 98 percent for more than ten years. A recent survey indicated that more and more North Americans are beginning to understand that the number one recycled product in commerce today is the automobile.

"For years, research has indicated that people mistakenly perceived aluminum beverage cans and newspapers as being the most recycled consumer products," explained Bill Heenan, president of the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), "It appears as though the automobile is finally getting its due."

Steel is the engine that drives automotive recycling. Most cars reaching the end of their useful lives comprise approximately two-thirds steel and iron, with virtually 100 percent being recycled back into new iron and steel products.

The recent study, conducted by the Steel Recycling Institute, indicated that approximately one out of five consumers now recognize the automobile as North America's most recycled product, almost doubling from a previous survey in 1997.

Additionally, more people are beginning to understand that what they may have once been called a "junkyard" is really part of the automobile recycling and remanufacturing process and one of the "Original Recyclers" in North America.

In 1998, more than 13.2 million tons of steel were recycled from automobiles. That's enough steel to build more than 12.1 million new, standard-size family vehicles. Much of the recovered steel is recycled into high strength steel sheet, the fastest growing light-weight material in the automotive industry. SRI's website, "” features more detailed information about the recycling of automobiles and all steel products.

The Steel Recycling Institute, a business unit of the American Iron & Steel Institute, educates the solid waste management industry, government, business and ultimately the consumer about the economic and environmental benefits of recycling steel. Through its seven regional offices, SRI works to ensure the continuing development of the steel recycling infrastructure.

SOURCE: Steel Recycling Institute 09/01/1999

Association Calls Coke On Carpet

The GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) is living up to its name. The group is taking on Coca-Cola in a very high-profile way. Coke is increasing its use of plastic bottles with no recycled content from cans and bottles that are made with recycled material. This will lead to a lot more containers ending up in the landfill, the GRRN says.

The GRRN is making its case in a series of paid ads in the New York Times and in messages to Working Assets long distance phone service customers. The group is urging people to call Coke or e-mail Chairman and CEO M. Douglas Ivester, who the GRRN claims broke his 1990 promise to use recycled material in Coke’s plastic bottles. Coke said its test-marketing recycled plastic bottles, but it is still struggling to find a product that won’t be too costly and will meet Food and Drug Administration requirements. It’s the now-classic recycling debate: environmental benefits vs. cost effectiveness.

It may turn out to be a good test case to see how strongly people feel about recycling. Drawing national attention to one of the most familiar products in the world should test those feelings. It also will test how a high-profile company reacts to these issues. It could be a significant precedent for future corporate actions.

Taken from Waste News, Vol. 5, Issue 13.

Aluminum Can Recycling Rate Drops Overall

Since the first Earth Day, Americans have landfilled more than 750 billion aluminum beverage cans, states the Container Recycling Institute (CRI). “Despite the high value of aluminum can scrap,” said Pat Franklin, executive director of CRI, “the recycling rate for aluminum cans dropped to 55% in 1998, its lowest point in ten years.” Of the 102 billion aluminum cans sold in the U.S. last year, an estimated 56 billion were recycled and a record number-46 billion– ended up in landfills. It takes the same amount of energy to make one new aluminum can from raw materials as it does to make four new cans from scrap cans, notes Franklin.

CRI’s research shows that while the national recycling rate for aluminum cans has decreased, the recycling rate for aluminum cans and other beverage containers is 80% or higher in states where these containers have a deposit value of a nickel or a dime. “The five or ten-cent incentive keeps bottles and cans off streets and beaches and out of landfills in Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, Maine, Vermont and Iowa,” says Franklin. “Even in California, where beverage cans have a 2.5 cent value, the recycling rate for aluminum cans was 75% last year.”

(Taken from BioCycle, August 1999)